I like ideas, but sometimes it’s good to share what we do with them: today is a post in that vein. I’ve written a lot recently about my Scaffolded Social Learning model. Today, i want to share an example of it in action. This is a module designed to take two to three hours to complete and is part of a six month Social Leadership development programme.
To recap: Scaffolded Social Learning is a design methodology that utilises both formal and co-created social elements. The formal components allow the organisation to feed in it’s side of the story, whilst the co-created community discussions are ‘sense making‘, where we construct the meaning and relate it to our everyday reality. You can read more about Scaffolded Social Learning here, and more about the types of interactions we utilise here.
So the model i present here is in four parts, each representing a different co-creative or social learning aspect, and it’s exploring who an organisation’s competitors are and what we can learn from them. Essentially, the learning narrative is this: instead of us telling you who our competitors are, and why, we ask people to explore the market, bring us examples, think about how they are competing and how we can behave differently as a result. This is done through four behaviours: curation, interpretation, reflection and analysis.
First we ask delegates to go out and find competitors, but we encourage them to deviate from the obvious: we use the formal component (in this case a ten minute podcast) to talk about asymmetrical competition, which is where small, emergent or startup organisations can subvert the market of established players. Take Uber, which has broken the taxi business.
People reach out and curate their examples, then move into interpretation, where we ask them to make sense of it. The sense making is initially a storytelling piece: what have you bought, how is it relevant and timely, to whom, and why? So the first interpretive layer is individual, but is shared in the communal space. We then critique each others interpretation. We ask delegates to sort all the stories into types, e.g. competition based on technology, innovation, leadership etc. This is a group sense making activity.
From there, we move to reflection, in this case, asking the question, “now that i’ve seen how they differ, what permissions, spaces, leadership or technology do they have that i don’t?”. We then work with the group to explore questions of ‘what does that mean?’, and ‘what can i change’, so we move from analytical to purposeful (which is vital for agility).
Finally, analysis: how would you behave differently if you had those permissions? Then, in the group, how do we gain that competitive advantage? This starts to move us into purposeful planning, but in a co-created and co-owned way, which is the model of change i advocate for the Social Age.
This is just one model, one example of application, but alongside the theoretical framework and description of behaviours, I hope it helps expand the conversation about application.